Tilburg, 18 October 2023 – In the attic of the Generalate, many objects were stored for years, mostly from former community houses. Looking to the future, the brothers decided it was time to clear out the attic. Together with some very dedicated volunteers, they worked hard to clear the attic and sort out the items.
For the brothers themselves, it was not always easy to part with things that had been part of the household for so long, even though most of them were gathering dust in the attic. After all, the items are part of a past of which they have fond memories, and which they remember sometimes with some melancholy, sometimes with appropriate pride.
Coming from the chapels of closed communities, there were tabernacles, statues, candlesticks, etc. Many of these objects had already found a place in other chapels and churches at home and abroad. The remaining objects have partly gone to the Religious Heritage Center St. Agatha’s, partly to a church elsewhere in the country that will have a museum function. Items belonging to the religious heritage of our congregation will also be displayed in that church.
Art and flea market
Besides religious items, there were art and utensils from the mission areas, and lots of drawings, etchings, and paintings, as there were quite a few brothers with a certain creative talent. On 14 and 15 October, the doors of the Generalate in Tilburg were open for a sale of these items. There was a large turnout of interested people, and there were also good sales. The proceeds will go to the brothers’ new mission in Zambia.
Apart from a nice result in monetary proceeds, the sales weekend also brought heart-warming moments. For example, there was a lady who had been portrayed by a brother artist in the distant past and who, to her great joy, found the portrait in question and was able to take it home with her. There was also a visitor who came mainly to express how grateful he still is for the education he received from the brothers. He went home with a painting of his former drawing teacher, a nice memento. Some people did not buy anything, but still donated an amount at the cash register for the construction of the school in Zambia.
Technical school in Kawambwa
The brothers are very pleased with the proceeds of this sale, which will benefit the new mission of their fellow brothers in Kawambwa, in northern Zambia. There, the brothers opened a carpentry school in early 2023, and there are now plans to add metalwork and masonry training. This combination will enable the school to take on assignments that the more advanced students can carry out, enabling the school to be self-sustaining in the future and enable even more young people from disadvantaged background to receive a solid education.
A new future
The first batch of students at St. Mary’s Vocational Training Centre in Kawambwa, Zambia are now well on their way to obtaining a vocational diploma. Most of them had not been able to get proper education before, for example because they had to help in the family, and they were unemployed or had only a poorly paid job. The vocational training offers them a new perspective.
“I learned to cooperate with others and share ideas. I now know how to set up my own business because we also learn entrepreneurship. After this training, I want to start my own workshop and support my family”
Kennedy, age 26
“I learned how to be committed in church and school. I find the brothers' life inspiring because of their hard work and spiritual life and I would like to become one of them”
Felix, age 20
“I would like to employ myself with the skills I have gained and work with other people, and share the skills I have gained in my school with others. This way we can build our country together”
James, age 19
“I have learnt so many things and as - for now - the only woman among men, I have learnt to focus on what we do and never give up”
Nachula, age 19
“Besides technical skills, I have learnt how to communicate with people. I have also learnt to work hard and cooperate with others to achieve our goals”